The SPECTRUM

Volume 31

The SPECTRUM

The SPECTRUM

You butternut miss out on gardening club

Kaison+Maruyama+27+and+Sage+Bonotto+27+till+the+garden+and+plant+seeds+on+a+Tuesday+morning+during+Gardening+Club.
Carter Tsao ’27
Kaison Maruyama ’27 and Sage Bonotto ’27 till the garden and plant seeds on a Tuesday morning during Gardening Club.

In the heart of the middle school campus, tucked away behind the science classrooms, Geoff Robertson and a team of enthusiastic students have turned a patch of earth into a thriving garden. Leading the school’s gardening club, Robertson encourages an appreciation for gardening that extends beyond the plants to include the personal development of the students involved.

“Planting is a favorite time for us,” Robertson said.
The seasons dictate their rhythm, one at the start of the year and another post-winter break. “We till, we fertilize, and then the magic happens – the students decide what they want to grow.”
The gardening club provides a setting where students engage in activities ranging from the care of seedlings to practical biology lessons in an outdoor environment. This initiative is designed not only to involve students in the physical act of gardening but also to offer them autonomy in decision-making, an understanding of accountability, and opportunities for exploration.

This year, the club’s garden boasts a variety of different vegetation, from herbs like thyme and rosemary to a diverse mix including napa cabbage and radishes, inspired by the students’ interest in kimchi greens. “We also have peas, green beans, Swiss chard, and tomatoes,” Robertson said. “Why pull out a tomato plant that’s still bearing fruit, right?”

The garden is also a laboratory of sorts, where the club experiments with sustainable practices. “We’ve been using shade cloths to suppress weeds,” explains Robertson, a method that significantly reduces the less enjoyable aspects of gardening and increases the joy of nurturing and harvesting.

However, running the club is not without its challenges. Robertson points out attendance fluctuation and the summer break as hurdles they’ve learned to navigate. “We plant hardier varieties that can fend for themselves over the summer,” he said.

Robertson also addresses the misconception that one must be present at every meeting to contribute. “We’re flexible. It’s about what you can bring when you can,” he assures.

Additionally, The garden has become a significant haven for the students. “The garden provides a nice escape from all of the noise and stress of the middle school campus,” club co-leader Kaison Maruyama ’27 said.

Above all, Robertson stresses that no prior knowledge is required. “We can teach you everything you need to know,” he promises. The club offers an opportunity for those interested to learn and participate at their own pace, providing a space where the natural environment sets the tone for engagement without obligatory attendance.

“The most exciting part is choosing what to grow,” Robertson said. “I love that the students have input on it. It’s fascinating.”

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About the Contributor
Carter Tsao ’27, Reporter
Carter Tsao '27 is a first-year reporter for HW Media. He enjoys writing and conversing with others about recent events and concerns. As a volleyball player, Tsao has an interest in sports and possibly writing and reporting on them. "I kind of just want to be able to write about the school and be able to talk about the school to people beyond Harvard-Westlake and people who are at Harvard-Westlake," Tsao said. Tsao has a goal of becoming editor-in-chief of The Chronicle. He is eager to write about crucial topics and inform others. "I just want to be able to write. I enjoy writing for the most part, and I enjoy talking to people about what's happening," Tsao said.
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